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5 Ways to Cope During a Book Buying Ban

Simone Jung

Staff Writer

Simone is a bookstagrammer with a penchant for writing. When she's not working at her day job, she spending her nights following the rabbit hole of good reads. She's an advocate for diverse reads, but she also loves a good thriller, a romantic meet cute, a coming-of-age story, a historical drama, and the everyday mishaps of life. You can find her blogging at

The Holiday season is slowly approaching and usually I take this time of year as a cue that I need to start saving my money for gifts. I love the Holidays because I love giving back, but I am also completely broke. This is the life you live when you spend all your money on books!

So I’ve decided to go on a book ban. Being a reader and being on a book ban is pretty tough. You start jonesing for a new book and scratching your neck like a deranged addict waiting for the next hit. I can smell the pages of a new book just thinking about it.

The truth is, as readers, we can all do with a little book buying ban. Come on, you got to admit that your TBR is piling up way too high and you know your Aunt Millie will be upset if you buy her a bag of hot dog buns for Christmas because you couldn’t afford anything else.

So while we all save a little to buy some epic gifts for our friends and family, here’s a few ways to keep yourself from spending more on books. After all if we save now, we could probably swing a few books during our shopping sprees.

read what you have

My mom will love this one because she’s always told me to be grateful with what I have. I don’t know about you, but I have books trickling in from all different places. I’ve got books from NetGalley and publishers and authors all waiting to be reviewed. If I didn’t spend another dime on a book, I’m pretty sure I’d have enough reading for three or four years. So while you’re on this book buying ban, use this time to catch up on your TBR. We all know you have one. We all know it’s lurking in the corner of your bedroom staring at you everyday while you get ready for work. Do something about it and read them!

Go digital

You don’t get as many cute book photos of you reading with this one, but you get to save on both trees and money by buying books digitally. There are numerous methods of reading digitally nowadays that doesn’t require a fancy piece of equipment. You can read on your phone or your laptop. You can listen to books. You can even buy digital books from your local independent bookstore. And while this method doesn’t get you to stop spending money, it does allow you to save since digital copies are usually less expensive than physical ones.

Borrow books from the library

I love a library. I love the fact that you can borrow a book from the library for free and all you need is a little plastic card that says you’re a patron there. It’s in every single town you live in and while some libraries do have restrictions on the number of books you can take out at once, you can pretty much stock your shelves with borrowed reads. The only thing to keep in mind is that there’s a time limit. If it’s going to take you more than three weeks to read a book, make sure to renew those lends; otherwise, you’ll be spending more just to keep reading.

Buy used books

The first books I ever bought for myself were used books. My mom would take us to the library book sale where paperbacks were a quarter and hardcovers were fifty cents. It was the best day in my life to finally afford a book. While library book sales don’t happen all the time, there’s plenty of used book stores and even second hand shops that sell great reads for much less than their worth. If you happen to live in New York, the biggest used bookstore I can think of is HousingWorks Bookstore, whose proceeds all go to helping homelessness. You’re even saving lives by buying books from this store!

Do a book trade

I work in an office with a ton of avid readers. There’s so many of them that I often find stray piles of books in the communal kitchen with a note reading “free, take me” on them. Of course I’m going to grab a book from that pile. If you happen to work in an office with a similar enjoyment for reading, then perhaps set up a book trade with your coworkers. Bring in a few books that you don’t want and swap them for books that other people didn’t want. You get some new books and you also get to make some space on your shelf at the same time. I know I’ve got a few books that have been collecting dust and probably would be much happier living on someone else’s shelf.

Got any other foolproof methods of saving money on books? Send them over!